There are many reasons for choosing to make yogurt using non-dairy milk: a vegan diet, allergies to dairy, or a restricted diet. Regardless of the reason, non-dairy milks can be cultured into yogurt, with some care.
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1. Choose a Non-Dairy Milk
Nearly any non-dairy milk can be cultured, including legume, nut, seed, grain, or coconut milk. While store-bought boxed or canned milk may be used, we recommend using milk with as few additives as possible. Homemade milks culture well and are easy to make. Be sure to check out our collection of recipes for making homemade non-dairy milk.
2. Choose Your Thickeners
While non-dairy milk will culture without a thickening agent, it usually will not set. To create a spoon-able, fairly thick yogurt, you'll need to choose a thickener that meets your dietary needs. Certain thickening agents must be added to the milk before heating it and before the culturing process, so be sure to review your options and pick out a thickener before getting started.
3. Choose a Culture
To make a completely dairy-free yogurt recipe, our Vegan Yogurt Starter is an excellent choice. It is available on its own or as part of the Vegan Yogurt Starter Kit, which includes a thickener and other supplies for making non-dairy yogurt.
4. Choose a Dairy-free Yogurt Recipe
Our Cultures for Health team has developed these non-dairy milk yogurt recipes, using our Vegan Yogurt Starter and different thickeners. Choose one of our recipes, create your own combination of non-dairy milk, thickener, and starter culture, or use our Vegan Yogurt Starter Kit and step-by-step guide.
5. Gather Your Supplies
Most non-dairy yogurt recipes work best with homemade non-dairy milks. Cotton nut milk bags work well for straining nut milks. You will also need a yogurt maker or a similar appliance to make yogurt with the Vegan Yogurt Starter Culture. Finally, this basic supply list for yogurt making outlines other supplies that are helpful to have on hand for making yogurt at home.
Special Considerations When Culturing Non-Dairy Milks
- Some alternative milks have added calcium. If using Pomona’s Pectin as a thickener, it may be necessary to eliminate the calcium water that's included in the recipe, to avoid over-thick yogurt.
- Because some alternative milks have less sugar than dairy milk, it can help to add sugar to promote fermentation. Approximately 1½-2 teaspoons sugar per cup of milk is recommended. Rice milk doesn’t need additional sugar.